Cheers broke out at Randwick Town Hall on Monday evening as Randwick Council backflipped on its plan to fly the Palestinian flag on November 29.
Back in June, Greens councillor Kym Chapple put forward an amendment to the Flying of Flags Policy, calling for the Palestinian flag to be raised outside Randwick Town Hall on November 29 – the United Nations’ International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.
But in the wake of Hamas’s horrific terrorist attack on Israeli civilians on October 7, Liberal councillor Daniel Rosenfeld called for an Extraordinary Meeting of Randwick Council to move a motion that the Palestinian flag not be raised.
Rosenfeld, who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, said, “There are many Jewish people here that have relatives in Israel who are going through daily anguish.
“Our LGA has a large Jewish presence, including two synagogues, a high school, two primary schools and an aged care provider. The Jewish community in Randwick feel very uncomfortable about us raising the Palestinian flag on November 29.”
The room was packed with Israel supporters and the meeting did get heated when Greens councillor Michael Olive tried to amend the motion to the ensure the Palestinian flag would be flown, while Chapple said she had “deep concerns” over not flying the Palestinian flag. Both pointed out that the Israeli flag had been raised at Randwick Town Hall on Yom Ha’atzmaut.
The majority of Randwick’s 15 councillors supported the motion to not fly the Palestinian flag given the current conflict, with the exception of the Greens, including the mayor Philipa Veitch.
Two Labor councillors – Kathy Neilsen and Alexandra Luxford – abstained from the vote, however their decision was recorded as against the motion.
“Randwick Council has made this decision to avoid inflaming what is currently a tense international situation and to avoid sending a message to the community that could be mistaken as support for Hamas,” said a council spokesperson.
“Council extends our sympathies to all those affected by the violence in Israel and Gaza.”